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India Must Back Afghans Fighting the Taliban - article by Tabish Forugh for Fair Observer 14.09.21

Sooner rather than later, the Pakistan-backed Taliban will train its guns on India, which makes it imperative for New Delhi to support brave Afghans fighting the new regime in Kabul.

Kabul has fallen again to the Taliban. Surprisingly, so has the Panjshir Valley where the legendary Ahmad Shah Massoud defied both the Soviets and the Taliban. Even more surprisingly, India has stayed silent so far.

Here is an extract from the article which is attached in pdf:

Can India Afford to Lose Afghanistan to the Taliban and Pakistan?

It is an open secret that the Taliban have been nurtured by Pakistan. Ever since its birth in 1947, Pakistan has sought strategic depth against India. The great Mughal city of Lahore is merely 24 kilometers from the Indian border. India’s population, economy and manufacturing capabilities dwarf Pakistan’s. Therefore, Islamabad has always sought strategic depth by controlling Afghanistan. In the past, the Taliban have acted as auxiliaries to the Pakistani army and carried out numerous operations against India. The actions of the Taliban and other jihadi fighters have given Islamabad plausible deniability in its war of terror against India.

The victory of the Taliban is a double-edged sword for Pakistan. On the one hand, Islamabad has achieved its objective of strategic depth. This time, the Taliban have even taken over the Panjshir Valley. On the other hand, this victory will fan Pashtun nationalism. Lest we forget, 15% of Pakistan’s population is Pashtun. This community was arbitrarily divided by the Durand Line into Afghanistan and British India in 1893. Pashtun nationalists consider it a humiliating colonial legacy and have never accepted it. As Pashtun power rises, so does the threat to Pakistan’s territorial integrity.

and here is how the article ends:

It is in India’s strategic interest to back Massoud Jr.’s NRF. The Taliban have won many battles so far, but they have yet to win the war for Afghanistan. Ethnic groups like the Tajiks, Uzbeks, Turkmen, Hazaras and others are bound to rally against their harsh, intolerant regime. Many Pashtuns will join them. Massoud Jr. needs backing from powers like India, Britain and the US to carry on the fight against the Taliban. Otherwise, this hardline regime will inevitably export terror to the rest of the world again.

Of all the world powers, India will suffer the most from the Taliban’s terror exports. Islamabad will direct the Taliban against India to preserve Pakistan and to avenge New Delhi’s liberation of Bangladesh in 1971. Even China has entered the fray in Afghanistan. Beijing has already hosted leaders of the Taliban and is willing to work with them. Russia is staying very quiet and there are rumors that it has made its own deal with the Taliban.

With the US pulling out dramatically and chaotically, Afghans who opposed the Taliban for decades need support. Just as India once backed Bangladeshis, they must now assist Afghans fighting the Taliban.

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For the full article in pdf, please click here:

India Must Back Afghans Fighting the Taliban - article for Fair Observer 14.09.21
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Narendra Modi in New Delhi, India on 7/25/2020. © Amit.pansuriya / Shutterstock

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